More than 4.9 million people became infected with coronavirus infection globally in the last week of 2021. More than 44,000 died. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report on December 28, new infections have increased by 11% compared with the previous seven days. 4,985,093 infected were detected during the week, and 44,680 deaths were recorded.
Britain set a new record for the number of COVID-19 cases: more than 129,000 new cases of COVID-19 infection were detected per day on New Year’s Eve, which is a record since the beginning of the epidemic, according to data published by the government. Since December 20, Britain has been included in the list of countries and regions in which mutations of the coronavirus are widespread, according to the Robert Koch Institute, which is subordinate to the German Ministry of Health.
According to the French sanitary agency, the record for the number of COVID cases detected per day was set in France: almost 180 thousand new coronavirus cases were detected, which was the highest figure since the beginning of the pandemic. Only on December 28, in 24 hours, the number of coronavirus cases was 179,807. Although, on December 25, 104,000 new cases of the disease were detected. Earlier, Health Minister Olivier Véran said that the omicron coronavirus strain would soon prevail in France.
New York Times estimates show that more than half a million cases of coronavirus were reported in the United States on December 27, At the same time, the average daily rate for seven days was 243,000 cases earlier. This figure was higher only for several days in January 2021, then the incidence reached or exceeded 250,000 cases per day. Earlier, the Associated Press reported on a statement from the US Secret Service that about $100 billion had been stolen from the budget of programs designed to help businesses and citizens who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Roy Dotson, Pandemic Fraud Recovery Coordinator, said the estimate is based on data from the Secret Service, the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration. He said the amount is 3% of the $ 3.4 trillion allocated to aid due to the pandemic. There are over 900 criminal investigations into pandemic-related fraud.
At an emergency meeting on December 25, the World Health Organization decided to classify the new strain of coronavirus B.1.1.529 as of concern, assessing the overall global risk associated with the spread of omicron as “very high.” “Depending on the characteristics of the new strain, serious consequences could arise in the event of another large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 due to the omicron,” the organization said in a report.
Preliminary results from studies by the World Health Organization indicated reduced efficacy against the new strain of the coronavirus omicron compared to the delta of two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty, or AstraZeneca Vaxzevria.
All three US-approved coronavirus vaccines are ineffective against omicron, according to a study by the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Reuters reported that these vaccines are Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech (two doses) and Johnson & Johnson (one dose). At the same time, experts under the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended, if possible, not to use the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to complications with blood clots.
Microbiologists from the University of Hong Kong concluded that the vaccines Comirnaty and CoronaVac used in the volume of two doses are practically useless against the new strain of the omicron coronavirus. The results of their research were published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The conclusion is that most people do not develop sufficient antibodies against the omicron variety after both doses of these types of vaccines. Only five out of 25 recipients of the drug from the American company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech had a neutralizing ability against omicron to one degree or another. At the same time, the vaccine’s effectiveness was reduced by 20-24%. And compared with the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the titer of neutralizing antibodies against the omicron variant decreased 36-40 times.
Under these conditions, the Standing Commission on Vaccinations (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute of Virology, subordinate to the Ministry of Health of the Federal Republic of Germany, recommended revaccination against coronavirus three months after the main immunization. These recommendations are for vaccines in use in Europe developed by Pfizer and its BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca.
However, even triple vaccination with Pfizer drugs does not save you from infection with the omicron variant of the coronavirus. This is the conclusion reached by Danish scientists in a study published on medRxiv. The team was led by Professor Marnar F Kristiansen, University of the Faroe Islands.
Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Russian Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology named after Gamaleya, said that the Sputnik V vaccination and revaccination after six months give full protection against the omicron strain. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing expert opinions, also said that Sputnik V is effectively combating omicron, and Russia is ready to share drugs with other countries for booster vaccination.
Gabriela Piovano, a specialist on the Dr. Francisco Javier Muniz infectious illness hospital in Argentina, said that countries that do not inoculate their citizens with the Russian drug “Sputnik V” have deprived them of “a perfect vaccine”, especially the United States and European countries. At the same time, Pfizer called the American development the “worst” vaccine. “The worst vaccine is the Pfizer vaccine because it has to be stored at -180 ° C. While it needs to be transported and given every three months, we all know that this is the worst vaccine,” Piovano said.
According to WHO, as of December 28, 280,119,931 cases of infection and 5,403,662 deaths have been registered in the world since the beginning of the pandemic. Most of the confirmed cases of infection reported to WHO were registered in the United States – 51,775,769, followed by India (34,799,691) and Brazil (22,239,436). Fatalities are the most in the USA – 809,908. The second line is occupied by Brazil (618 448), the third is by India (480 290). The incidence rose 39% in America, 7% in Africa, and 3% in Europe.
Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.